Palpatine’s Return In Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Was J.J. Abrams’ Idea

Emperor Palpatine Star Wars

One of the most significant events in the production of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was a change in the director’s chair. Colin Trevorrow was originally pencilled in to helm this ninth and final episode in the Skywalker saga, but prior to filming he was replaced with J.J. Abrams, who already has one Star Wars movie under his belt.

Now, in an interview with Empire, Trevorrow has elucidated some of the changes Abrams has brought to the project, most eye-catchingly the return of perennial supervillain and fan-favorite Emperor Palpatine.

“Bringing back the Emperor was an idea JJ brought to the table when he came on board. It’s honestly something I never considered. I commend him for it. This was a tough story to unlock, and he found the key.”

When pressed about which of his script contributions fans might see in the finished product, he refused to be drawn in, cognisant of the need to respect the filmmakers still on board.

“That’s not my place, especially right now. I know how hard this crew has worked over the past two years, a lot of them are working with us now on Jurassic [World]. I want to support them as they put this film out into the world. In the end, I’m just proud to have my name in space.”

Artistic differences between a director and the one who replaced him is not in itself a surprising detail – Disney would hardly have made the change if they weren’t getting a different creative perspective for the project. What is interesting is that such a major plot point was not even in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s original schematic, revealing an eye-opening glimpse into how these giant franchise vehicles are assembled.

It’s also salient to note Disney have a lot of form when it comes to, how to put it diplomatically, parting with directors. Both Rogue One and Solo saw those originally signed on make way, albeit much further into production than in this case. They’ll hope though, as will fans, that their decision is vindicated come the movie’s release on December 20th.